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Growing Students with Honor
Greg Ballassi 

For a history major, there is no better way to learn about a city’s past than to spend time immersed in its culture.  Greg Ballassi had the opportunity to do just that during his trip to Rome as a sophomore and his trip to Vienna as a junior as part of the AMC Honors Program.

A Waterford, CT native, Greg learned about Anna Maria College from his mother, Yannoula Thanas, class of 1981 and 1983 MBA. “She put AMC on my list of colleges to explore,” states Greg.  “After visiting the campus and learning more about the small class sizes and personal approach to education, AMC began to move to the top of my list.” The financial aid package was also a draw for Greg and the new Honors Program piqued his interest. “I was able to sit in on one of Dr. Paul Russell’s classes during a visit to campus,” shares Greg.  “It was a great experience and definitely made me more interested in studying at the College.”

Accustomed to being on his own, Greg didn’t waste any time becoming involved at AMC.  He is a member of the drama club, the chorus and the chamber choir, and was the frosh publicist.  He is also not afraid to make his own fun.  “I believe that you have to carve out your own path in life.  Find what works for you and then make it happen,” claims Greg.  “I don’t like to sit around and wait for things to come to me.  Sometimes I will get a group together to go shoot hoops or throw a Frisbee around.  I also have been known to organize a game of ‘man-hunt’ on campus.  We always have a great time,” he adds.

Greg’s studies are a priority and the Honors Program has opened up many opportunities for him to really expand his mind.  “Although there are some hurdles and challenges, what I like most about being in the Honors Program is that our professors allow us to delve right into the heart of what we need to learn so that we can move full-steam ahead and really study the subject in depth,” he explains. Paul Russell, Ph.D., director of the Honors Program. 

In addition to the trips abroad, the Honors Program hosted excursions to the ballet, lectures and other cultural events.  Dr. Russell always made sure that the students were well-prepared for their outings so that they were truly a learning experience. 

For Greg, his overall experience at Anna Maria has been very positive and he believes that he is learning just as much outside the classroom as inside.  “To me, AMC is a microcosm of the real world.  Even though it is small, it functions on a much larger scale.  But because of the close-knit community, you can really get involved in what’s happening and form relationships on a personal level,” states Greg.  “That’s what makes AMC special.”